*Warning! This blog post is all Christian-y and stuff*
I had a discussion with a friend of mine who is getting her degree in divinity somewhere up North. During the course of that brief discussion, there were a number of profound conclusions we came to (or at least that were profound to the two of us) leading her to make the following utterance:
“Malaka, the next blog I read from you better be on this topic. If it’s not, I’m coming to Atlanta to beat you.”
Well, since I’ve never had a member of the clergy neither physically threaten me nor do I plan to have a man/woman of the frock do so anytime SOON, I’ve decided to be obedient.
Oh don’t judge her! Even Jesus lashed a few people in the temple for desecrating the Father’s house. I’m sure there is a class in her monastery: Lashing sinners 101…or something of that sort.
Anyway, this particular friend of mine is in the process of nursing a broken heart and has been doing so for well over a year. She blogs about the pain she’s been through with such veracity that I literally walk away from her posts feeling hollow and heartsick myself. She declares that there is no real reason for the break up. They both love each other very much, but distance is keeping them apart. He lives in a neighboring state.
Now, to someone like me, this is absolutely ludicrous. The answer seems very simple, in my book. He and/or I would bloody well have to scrape our pennies together and commit to seeing each other twice a month at least, PARTICULARLY if we lived in neighboring states. It’s a small price to pay for love, is it not?
Apparently, it’s not that simple. There are other factors keeping them apart. I’ve come to the conclusion that there is more to the story than I’m being told, because distance alone doesn’t seem to be a good enough reason to keep two previously knitted hearts apart and in pain.
None of that is the point of the post that I’ve been ordered to write, however. How God feels about it, is.
“If God ever sees fit for me to birth children, I will tell them never to give their heart and soul to anyone outside of marriage,” my friend declared. “Especially my daughters.”
(By the way, I’ve decided to call my friend “Pastor Kiki.” “My friend” sounds so impersonal.)
I nodded on the other end of the phone.
“Dude, I totally agree! It took me years to get over my first love. It was definitely one of the hardest experiences of my life.”
The feelings of loss and utter ruin I felt as a teenager after he-whose-name-shall-not-be-uttered-in-this-blog threatened to bubble up within me at that moment, 18 years later. I smashed them back into the jagged hole in my heart I’d created for them as a 16 year old girl.
Pastor Kiki launched into a high pitched monologue, as she is wont to do when she gets excited. (Lord, I hope she loses that tic when she starts preaching at the pulpit.)
“I think part of the problem with the Church is how we’ve spun sex before marriage and sin in the modern age,” she mused.
I knew where she was going and had to jump in.
“You’re right,” I interjected. “I think the conversation has been so condemning and one directional. The church does a bad job of talking about how our sin affects God. I think it’s done a particularly bad job when it comes to love and sex before marriage. I think that when you’re broken hearted it breaks God’s heart too.”
She squealed on the other end of the phone and it was at that point she promised to thrash me if I did not write a blog on this subject.
God Almighty (in my humble opinion) is possibly the most misunderstood being in the universe. Despite numerous sonnets, volumes and texts devoted to His personhood, most of mankind still does not know Him (or Her…or shoot, Them). Most of us put God in the box of our experience. When we need our foes smitten and scattered, we pull Him out and declare that God will punish our foes accordingly! When we need our rent paid or college tuition covered, we quote scriptures about streets of gold and houses with mansions in Heaven. You get the picture.
However, I wonder why we don’t ever hear more about God as Abba – our Father? Oh yes, Christians spout off about being ‘a child of the King’, but that statement is usually provoked by some perceived slight and is tantamount to religious posturing and pouting, not a conviction based on a solid relationship with God. If we think of God as our Father, the author and creator of all life, a person with real feelings and thoughts, then perhaps our attitudes towards sin would be a lot different.
When we think of sin, we usually think of the big three, i.e. rape, murder and robbery; but I once heard sin described as anything that separates you from the will of God. With such a broad description, a lot of things outside of our narrow scope of what a sin is becomes included. Suddenly, accepting a particular job offer may become a sin or eating a meal may be sinful. After all, working for an agency that willingly defrauds people of money could be considered sinful, and eating buckets of pork will certainly end your life prematurely. There are reasons why God gave commandments/laws about which foods were considered clean and unclean in the Old Testament. In the Black church particularly, we like to talk about how we are redeemed from the Law through the blood of Christ, and engage in all manner of unhealthy eating habits. But when you consider how much havoc pork has wreaked on our community and acknowledge the fact that shrimp are nothing but cockroaches of the sea, you can see why God considers ingesting these a sin. Cockroach cocktail is not His best for us.
But in this case we’re talking about sex and love before marriage. In an ideal Judeo-Christian world, every person would wait to get married before falling hopelessly in love and remain forever bound to that person ‘til they were parted by death. It just doesn’t happen in today’s society. Just like with our food choices, we’ve found ways to manage sin…or activities that are beneath what God deems his best for us. We’ve coined cute phrases like “born again virgin” to inoculate ourselves from nefarious deeds of the past and indulge in silly dalliances such a purity balls in hopes that this will thwart the raging hormones of our teenaged youth.
You know what would be nice? How about introducing our young men and women to Christ? How about we get Him off the cross and set Him on a throne so He can have a chat, real informal like? Here’s what I would imagine a conversation with my Father would sound like.
“Look, you’re getting to an age where you’re about to go through some changes. Your body is blossoming. Young men (and probably some old ones too) are going to start looking and lusting after you. Some might try to convince you that they really, really love you and that you want them as much as they want you. They’re just talking about sex. I’d rather you not do that.”
“Really? Why not?”
“Because sex is an expression of love – but it’s just one expression of love. In fact, it’s the lowest expression of love. Giving your life for the one you love is the highest. All the same, sex is still very powerful. It opens you up to another dimension that you might not be ready for. It forever binds you to the person or people you engage with. It starts with your thoughts, which is why you have to keep your thoughts pure. Your amorous thoughts should only be for someone you’ve made a commitment to, and who’s made a commitment to you.”
“Oh…ok. If you say so…”
“I know it sounds dumb, what with your fast paced world with Twitter and Facebook and friends that you can ‘unfriend’ and end relationships with the touch of a button, but your emotions and your soul are at stake. I love you, and I want the very best for you.”
“Well, I love you too, Father!”
“Great. Then do me a favor, will you? Don’t get your heart broken, because it will certainly break mine. When you hurt, I hurt too.”
God isn’t some enormous White man in a flowing toga and a beard waiting to rain down thunder and tsunamis on mankind. He wants to love us and show His kindness to us. It hurts Him when harm, any sort of harm, befalls us. Remember when Cain killed Abel? He said his “blood cried out from the earth” to Him. Just think about that.
So do the Lord a favor, please? Guard your heart with all diligence.
How did I do, Pastor Kiki?